“There have been suspicious power cuts for three days near my house and that too at the same hour — between 12.30 a.m. and 1.30 a.m. Everyday the Bescom helpline tells me it’s a feeder problem. When I point out that this has been happening for three days, they say they don’t have any records of interruptions in the area,” said an irate Basavanagudi resident.
Many Bangaloreans across the city have been echoing this. Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has been reiterating that there will be no power cuts this summer and has neither announced any scheduled load-shedding.
But consumers have been complaining of unannounced but clockwork-like power cuts.
In 2009, power cuts of two hours per day (one each in the morning and evening) were announced; the following years too (2010 and 2011), the power utility company resorted to scheduled power cuts.
In 2012, Bescom came under scathing criticism as it announced six-hour power cuts for industries.
Curiously, in an election year, Bescom has been shying away from announcing scheduled power cuts or load-shedding. Instead, the erratic power supply plaguing various parts of the city has been blamed on “technical snags” at feeders or “maintenance work”.
But senior Bescom officials maintained that the frequent power cuts were not out of line.
“As per the government’s order, we are to supply up to 18 hours of power a day, and the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has agreed that there is no requirement to supply power for 24 hours. This, as the consumers pay only for 18 hours of power.
“This applies to all places, except the major cities such as Bangalore and Mysore. Even out of the 18 hours of power supply, three-phase power is supplied for only six hours, while single-phase is supplied for the remaining 12 hours. The single-phase can take only the lighting load,” an official said.
‘Poll is a factor’
Without pointing out to a direct bearing of the upcoming Assembly elections on the situation, Bescom sources said that payment to private companies supplying power to the escoms had also been the most prompt this year.
“The pending arrear bill of Rs. 400 crore was paid almost immediately to Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) this time. Usually, the company gives a month’s time for payment,” according to the sources.